He runs to make his mind still, to organize himself and to get rid of the noise from this loud, confusing world. The more he's moved, the more he's introduced patterns and rhythm into his routine. Laps around the house are a daily ritual. He's made it more complex as he's developed, but the basics are the same. There is a pattern of movement -- specific foot patterns based on whatever song or chant he chooses to accompany the run, and he can not be stopped until he is ready to be.

This is James, and this is our story.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Coming Back to our Neighborhood

I love James' school with my whole heart, and I love everyone who has supported him over the past 3 years. I can not even begin to adequately express the gift that James and our family have been given as a result of being part of this incredible inclusive community. I never anticipated having this opportunity in our large city school district and I've always felt like I won the lottery by receiving this placement. After years of having to advocate tirelessly and switch schools yearly, this school offered exactly what James and our family needed. Johnny has been on the waiting list for over a year and I've been eagerly anticipating having both boys together at this amazing school through 12th grade.

But James has been struggling with school more and more each year. Not THIS school, just school in general.

ELA ruins my life, he cries to me. I want to stay home. I can't go to school because I will be gone from you for too long. I feel sick. Johnny's school is closer. He doesn't get as much work as me. I want to move where there is no school. I can't breathe because I'm thinking about school. I feel sick in the car. I can't ride in it anymore, I need to get air. 

This is what he tells me every morning during our hour long drive to drop Johnny off at his school and then cross the city to James'. Every day I see him blink repeatedly to stop the tears as he gets out of the car to go into the building.

And every day my heart breaks for him and I wonder if it is all worth it.

So last week I stopped wondering.

I transferred James into a school in our own neighborhood. He starts on Monday. It is also a fully inclusive school and my friends who have kids there feel as strongly about their school as we do about the one we are coming from. I know we will have a lot of support from both the community we are leaving and the one we are joining.

But there will still be ELA (English language arts). School will still take up most of his day away from home. It is going to be a really big transition and there will be blinking to hold back tears. It is going to be hard at first.

However, I think it will get easier, and I know that knowing he is 5 minutes from home instead of 45 will make a major difference for James. I know that being able to have friends who live around the corner come to our house after school is going to be a game changer for him.

And that's definitely worth it.


Anonymous said...

Oof. That's gotta be hard to watch him go through every day. (((you)))

Sounds like school close to home is a great option for everyone. Keeping fingers crossed and sending good juju!

Alysia said...

I know your gut and I trust it completely. I know this was hard to do but you listened to him and to you and I know this will be okay.

lexi magnusson said...

I love that boy and the picture of him blinking back tears gut punched me something fierce. Good for you, mama, for doing this.

He's going to rock it.

AutismWonderland said...

These decisions are never easy...And I so wish they were. Sending you all love. And hoping you all ease into this new chapter with ease. XOXO